The Rock's Call Of Duty Movie Is The Worst Idea Since Doom
Can you smell what Dwayne "The Rock" Jonhson is cooking? It's the scent of napalm in the morning, as the Hollywood megastar is tipped to star in a war-ravaged Call of Duty movie. The Rock teased that he'd landed a part in a video game adaptation as big as his muscles, but while some thought it would be God of War, it's apparently a long-awaited Call of Duty outing.
While Johnson was once known as that wrestler who went on to play the Scorpion King, he managed to turn things around to become flavour of the month. Even managing to branch beyond his tried and tested staple of standard action movies, The Rock is set to join the hallowed halls of comic book movies with Black Adam.
As the highest-paid actor of 2021, you could argue that anything The Rock touches turns to gold - down to his bizarre appearance in Fortnite - but remember it wasn't always the way. Could an IP as massive as Call of Duty finally be the one to take out The Rock? Remember, we've been here before with 2005's Doom.
Call Of Duty Is The Wrong IP For Cinemas
Starting at the very foundations (Fortnite pun for you there) of a CoD movie, it's an idea that's been struggling to get off the ground since 2015. The problem is, Call of Duty as we know it today is a very different beast to the one that first jumped into the trenches with the OG back in 2003.
These days, we've been taken to the far-flung future of 2187 with Infinite Warfare, retold the events of the Cold War in last year's game of the same name, and lost count of time travelling zombies in its fan-favourite spinoff series. That's before we cover Warzone with its Verdansk and Caldera maps, meaning CoD has something of an identity crisis where it doesn't always stick the landing. Despite Resident Evil having one of the most batsh*t lores we've ever seen, at least there's a connecting tissue that brings the game together.
Where would a Call of Duty movie even go? A simple step would be to tell an epic yarn in the World War II era, with The Rock as some American platoon sergeant. Legendary movies and shows like Saving Private Ryan and Band of Brothers have done this amazingly, so anything Call of Duty during this period would likely struggle to match them.
It's also easy to imagine The Rock heading up some tech-savvy group that has to take on a terror threat Stateside. You can just picture the explosive opening where the White House is bombed and it's up to The Rock and his troops to hunt some shady terror cell around the globe. We can see the middling Rotten Tomatoes scores from here.
When Black Ops III released, there was talk of Activision opening up its own studio to craft a Call of Duty Cinematic Universe - uh oh, sounds like Universal's Dark Universe. Original director Stefano Sollima vowed to make a "real soldier movie, not a war movie," but that's what they all say. The likes of Chris Pine and Tom Hardy were touted for a potential lead, and there were still talks as late as 2019. There's a reason that seven years after a Call of Duty movie was announced, it hasn't graced us with its presence.
Why The Rock Is Wrong For Call Of Duty?
Then there's The Rock himself. It's arguably his ongoing role as Luke Hobbs in the Fast & Furious movies that's managed to turn around his reputation after box office blunders like Tooth Fairy. We're not knocking Johnson's acting capabilities, be he can definitely be accused of being a little one-note.
How much really separates Jumanji's Dr. Smolder Bravestone from Jungle Cruise's Frank Wolff. In the aforementioned Doom, he played the jacked-up Sgt. Asher "Sarge" Mahonin, who had about as many dimensions as a flat piece of paper. You can easily throw blame at the screenplay and director Andrzej Bartkowiak, but to this day, Doom is a grim reminder of how not to do a video game adaptation.
Sure, Doom had something of a revolutionary first-person perspective during perhaps its only redeeming moment, but it also set a precedent for the bad idea of trying to bring shooters to the silver screen. Any idea of a CoD movie was always going to get some flack, so there's also the worry that simply slapping The Rock's name on it is the studio's way of assuring bums on seats.
Even though there's no taking away from The Rock's cinematic charisma, it's a tale we've seen a thousand times before. A tense action scene where the veins pop on his neck, a stare into the distance with a raised eyebrow, and a comedic quip. It's a formula that is growing tired, so to attach it to a flimsy premise like a testosterone-packed Call of Duty movie, and it'll either be sink or swim.
Whoever is working on the live-action Call of Duty movie is guaranteed to assure us this will be "something different" and a "love letter to the games", but look how that turned out for Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City. Maybe we're being too harsh and judging the project before knowing enough about it. Then again, the sometimes toxic Call of Duty community and sweaty teens flooding to the cinema to see their favourite muscle mary save the world for the thousandth time is not something you'll get me paying for.
We dread to think what kind of payday The Rock could've landed for this one - suggesting there will be an even bigger budget. As Warner Bros. learned with Justice League, this could be a costly mistake. No matter who you cast in a Call of Duty movie, you'd probably be reading the same type of article. I love Robert Downey Jr., but cast him as Frank Woods in a live-action Black Ops, and I'd be calling it career suicide.
Unfortunately, we can already see where this going. It won't be long until the CoDCU (Call of Duty Cinematic Universe) is churning out movies like rabbits having babies, and we're left wishing for the days Fast 9 going to space seemed like a ludicrous idea. Even if it's all speculation for now, Johnson is an oddly likely pairing with a live-action Call of Duty movie. Whatever The Rock is cooking, I don't fancy a taste.